Cumulative Impacts – Science, Policy, Practice

  • May 15, 2024, 3:30 pm US/Central
  • Alan Walts, U.S. EPA Region 5, Environmental Justice, Community Health, and Environmental Review Division (EJCHERD)
  • Chris Stoughton

In everyday life, some people are exposed to numerous pollutants from a wide array of sources through multiple media and pathways. Chemical stressors in environmental media (air, water, land) and non-chemical stressors (e.g., social determinants of health, extreme weather events) aggregate and accumulate over time from one or more sources in the built, natural, and social environments, affecting individuals and communities. This is referred to as “cumulative impacts.” Such impacts disproportionately fall on communities with unequal environmental conditions and exposure to multiple stressors. And changes in climate can exacerbate many of these disproportionate impacts. As part of a historic investment to advance environmental justice and equity, EPA is working to improve its policy and practice in order to better assess and address cumulative impacts. This Colloquium will discuss some of the scientific and organizational work that is involved in this undertaking.